Gender Stereotyping in our Schools 

Superhero girls

If I am entirely honest I never thought for one minute that I would experience any form of gender stereotyping in our schools, let alone primary school when dealing with four/five year old children, but I have in just the last few days.

If we are going to eradicate gender issues and allow our children to be who they want to be and like what they want then we need to start when they are young.

It infuriates me that our teachers, and obviously not all teachers, are deciding for the future generations that they are if they are a girl they are not allowed to like superheroes, they must be a pretty little princesses, all dressed in pink and if they are a boy they are not allowed to play with dolls.

Regular readers of my blog will know I have four year old twins girls and they may possibly know that although born at exactly the same time with the same DNA, they are so completely different! A post I wrote a while ago, Superhero v Princess explains how different their personalities and characters are.

Both of my twin girls are fully aware that they are girls, but R has a preference toward superhero toys which surely have to be available to boys and girls.
On the other side, M loves just about anything that is pink and I actually think in her mind she thinks she is a princess and that is absolutely fine and who am I to burst her bubble?

So the other day they came out of school as usual, but with R, you can always tell if something is bothering her and on this particular day she was very pre-occupied. When she is like this, the best plan of action is to wait until she tells you.

Finally she spoke about the issue that was bothering her and I have to admit I was shocked completely that this happened in their school.

The teacher had told the class that she had brought advent calendars. One was a boy themed calendar and the other was a girl themed calendar according to R.

R absolutely loves superheroes. She wears her Spider-Man cap everyday to school and she was very definite that she didn’t want a girls advent. She was pretty upset to be honest. This is wrong on every level to me. Since when are advent calendars gender specific? Does it really matter which one our daughters and sons pick?

Why is my four year old daughter being denied the chance to open the ‘boy’ advent calendar just because she’s a girl? This has been put in her head by somebody that should know better.

We have had to speak to the teacher to allow R to open the boys advent calendar because she’ll get herself upset about it. How absurd is that in 2016? After all on the weekend just gone their Nanna my mum brought them advent calendars from Asda and R picked marvel and M picked Frozen, and that’s absolutely fine because contrary to belief girls like superheroes too and if they want can be superheroes if they do wish!

I came to the conclusion that as much as I felt gender stereotyping was changing for the better I find it rearing its ugly head in my four year old twins school.

Finally, I simply cannot not comprehend why two advent calendars were brought and labelled by gender  because whether you are a boy or girl you can pick from either one.

This may sound very trivial, but it is planting a seed in their young minds that may take a very long time to remove or in fact hold them back in achieving their dreams.

If we are to nurture a generation of children that strive and believe that they can achieve anything, which could be prime minister or a beauty queen. We need to stop brainwashing them with this sort of rubbish at such a young age when they can be very susceptible to believing that girls can only be princesses and boys are our leaders and superheroes.

This is our future generation that will one day run this world of ours,so no matter what their gender let’s make them strive and believe that they can do anything and be exactly what they want without any restrictions.

Have you experienced any gender stereotyping in your children’s school? I would love to hear.

39 thoughts on “Gender Stereotyping in our Schools 

  1. I hate reading stuff like this, so unnecessary. Luckily, not had an issue with it. One of her teachers even tells my daughter how much she loves Star Wars too, and same teacher tells me how great it is to see her engage with that and superheroes.

  2. Ah this is bad! I agree with you that gender stereotypes should be stopped. And how ridiculous that an advent calendar needed to be gender specific. I think it’s happening in our girls school but my toddler is a Princess (apparently) so we haven’t got a problem. But I think my youngest will be more of a “tomboy”. So I think she’ll be a superhero to a princess party! Something I’m fine with!

  3. I really hope I don’t get this when the girls go to school. At the mo the grem is very princessy but this may change and I want her to be able to be interested in what she likes without any stereotyping. I’m shocked about that and think the kids should have been able to pick from whatever calendar on each day! xx Thanks for hosting x

  4. This has shocked me…it’s like when I have to justify my son playing with dolls to people…you shouldn’t have too, hopefully things are changing and there are just a few ‘relics’ left!

  5. This kind of thing really… GRRR! I will never get it, and the majority of people i know and interact with online feel the same. That makes me happier knowing these stereotype enforcing people are of the minority. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is disgusting. Things like this have such a huge impact on children so young it’s not to be sniffed at. We were in a shop a while ago and Corben wanted a tiara and wand set. We said pick what you want and that’s what he chose, he then wore and held them around the rest of the shopping centre. Did it hurt anyone, no. Has it somehow warped his mind into thinking he’s a girl, no. He just wanted to play with that for a bit and that’s that! He also has a Sylvania Families house / set that his sister gave him. Great read, awful it happened.

  7. This is shocking! I wouldn’t be happy with that either. I haven’t experienced this so far but then Eva is very much a girly girl and isn’t interested in anything that some may class as “boys” toys. My youngest son is obsessed with all things pink and sparkly, he likes to dress in princess dresses and play with dolls, and we give him the freedom to play with whatever he likes! #thatfridaylinky

  8. This is a big problem Nige. Totally agree that this sort of expectations from the adults in their lives at school are likely to cause problems and limit who they want to be, now and later. My son is 11 months old and already I’ve had disparaging comments from strangers about him playing with a doll, as if boys shouldn’t look after babies or something! Keep up the fight! #thatFridayLinky

  9. Wow, I can not believe that a professional working in education wouldn’t embrace diversity.

    To label certain things as being for BOYS and others for GIRLS really doesn’t fit in with today’s society.

    Thanks for sharing

  10. That’s really not on and I can appreciate your frustrations here, I think I’d be the same and would end up saying something. Great post as always. #thatfridaylinky

  11. My son desperately wanted an Elsa dress (from Frozen) last year. I remember going to the supermarket with him dressed in it only for the check out assistant to comment “you cant be a boy if you are wearing that”. I told her he could wear and be anything he liked! The ignorance of some is shocking. Even my Dad who is the most wonderful father ever, was ‘disappointed’ that my son had a toy pushchair and a doll. Since school, my son has become a lot more aware that there are boys and girls. I’m just hoping that the education system will allow them to express themselves by a non gender bias and let children be children. x

  12. Things here in Brazil aren’t so much different. My oldest daughter also loves superheroes/villans. Once her teacher was stamping her classmates homeworks with one Wonder Woman and one Darth Vader stamp. Even though she likes wonder woman, she LOVES star wars related stuff (she sleeps with a plush Darth Vader instead of a “normal” Teddy Bear as a matter of fact). She asked for her teacher to stamp a Darth Vader on her homework but the teacher said it was only for boys and stamped a WW instead. She came home sooo desapointed.

  13. I’m glad you had the guts to talk to the teacher about it. Something similar happened in my daughter’s nursery class – she couldn’t have a blue bunny mask, she says because she was told blue is for boys. I never had the courage to ask the teacher about it but was relieved to see wearing said blue bunny mask about the spring show a few weeks later – I do wonder whether she put her foot down and insisted on having her favourite colour!!

  14. I so feel your pain and frustration here. I find myself on a daily basis weaving my way through a Forest of limitations and barriers but up to limit the potential of young girls. I have two too and they’re 4 and 6 and already aware that there seems to be things deemed for boys use and the same goes for girls. This bugs the heck out if me. Recently in school my eldest was colouring and a boy on her table picked up a pink pen to colour and the other boys around the table said he couldn’t use it cos it was for girls. My eldest responded with the comment that colours are for all and that they don’t care who you are. At the time my eldest was 5 and in her reception year. It’s little moments like this that push me on confident in the knowledge that whatever my wife and are are trying to achieve as parents is working.

  15. I’m not fussed either way to be honest, it wouldn’t overly bother me if I’m truthful but on the other hand I do think that it would be better if they were allowed to make their own choices with regards to things like this. Thanks for hosting #ThatFridayLinky

  16. Ugh this is one of my pet peeves. Children should be being taught to be independent and make their own decisions. As if a toy has every defined a child and what they grow up to be or not to be! ox


  17. So sad that this sort of gender stereotyping is happening at the hands of a teacher… they are at the very epicentre of how our children are destined to develop as they become adults, almost as much as us parents are. I’m so glad that you were able to support your daughter and show that it certainly is OK to like superheroes regardless of being boy or girl. Keep up that support! Sadly, even in 2016 it is still so very much needed! #thafridaylinky

  18. It isnt right, but it does happen and it does suck. Our twins are 2 and we havent even figured out if they are HUMAN yet!!!

    As long as they are healthy and happy they can be a tree for all I care.


  19. I honestly believe the teacher probably bought the calendars with no harmful or stereotypical thoughts, but she should have allowed the children to choose which calendar they wanted to be a part of, rather than making that decision for them. #ThatFridayLinky

  20. I couldn’t agree more! It truly angers me that we still cling on to oldfashioned gender stereotypes! And a teacher should know better! You where right in talking to her about it. I must admit that it’s only after I’ve become a parent that I’ve really started to notice just how much everything for our kids is divided into boy/girl especially clothes too! Why is all girls clothes about being pretty and pink where boys are apparently always up to no good – these generic gender statements anger me! I guess the only ones who can change it are us, the parents, if we shout loud enough surely the retailers will follow, after all they cater for profit and what they know is that gender specific clothes/toys/etc sells! #familyfun

    1. Miss Babybrain is out today! Meant to say #thatfridaylinky hooray for being a sleep deprived mummy trying to get her blogging fix whilst little man is napping! 😉

  21. I love how your two little ladies are very secure in knowing their identity (hats off to you and mummy) and I do agree that if R wants a superhero advent calendar then why not? Perhaps next year the school can just get one option that’s neutral to stop upsetting the kids. Or just simply get a couple extra incase kids want a different one (such as your case) what teacher would want an excuse to eat left over chocolate? #thatfridaylinky

  22. As a teacher, I don’t think this is a huge problem in schools I’ve taught in. In fact, I was recently discussing with some teacher friends how in the ten years I have been teaching the kinds of books students read are much less gender stereotyped than they used to be (i.e. lots more girls reading sci-fi) and it’s become not just acceptable but cool for boys to be dancers and girls to be footballers.

    Out of interest, was the teacher quite young or new to the profession? I could see this being a rookie mistake that a teacher could easily make. Hopefully they will learn from it now you’be spoken to them.

    This is not to say gender stereotyping doesn’t exist in schools. As a secondary teacher, one of the biggest problems we face is subject selection (i.e. All girl textiles classes and all boy engineering classe). This is a really serious issue that has a knock on effect on career paths but I’m not sure how you address it. Is it teachers to blame? Parents? Peer pressure? Maybe all there?

    Hopefully this sort of thing won’t be happening 4 years from now when my two reach school (or maybe even sooner if we’re lucky)!

  23. It’s so annoying and definitely shouldn’t be happening in this day and age.
    My little boy will be four in just under two weeks and he loves the Trolls. We bought him a Troll advent calendar- it even lights up and we knew he’d love it. Despite it having Poppy with her big pink troll hair all over the front. It really doesn’t matter to us. He loves it so it shouldn’t matter to anyone else either.
    He loves my old Barbie too!
    I played with tractors and farm animals when I was little and back then some of my friends thought this was strange. It’s sad that thirty years later we still have problems with this kind of thing. #thatfridaylinky

  24. I haven’t seen or heard of this in my younger kids school as of yet. There the teachers allow the kids to play with what they want and anytime stuff like your girls advent calendars comes up our teachers let the kids choose what they want. Even on the playground everybody does everything. My little girl plays football and soccer and my son will play puppies with no mention of thats a boys/girls game.
    Now we have delt with this in the past with my older daughter when living in small towns. She felt she had to wait untill Jr High to start showing her love for superheros due to how she was treated in school. Even I had no idea she liked them as she hid it from me and mom due to things said to her.
    All 3 of my kids can play and like what ever they want. Who cares if my daughters play with cars and turtles and my son plays monster high. They are having fun and thats all that matters.

  25. My girls have yet to go to school but it’s made me wonder whether I was too quick to go down the girly nursery route rather than an adventurous bear nursery hmmmmm.#ThatFridayLinky

  26. Very odd thing for the teacher to say. I would to think it wouldn’t happen in my daughter’s school ( I have certainly not heard of it happening). In our house, where mum ghoes ot work and dad stays at home, we tend to be very gender aware. Both kids do karate (in a class that is, interestingly, about 50/50 boys to girls) one does football, the other gymnastics. They will not be limited by gender and I wouldn’t tolerate it at school. As an aside, I was in a major toy store the other day trying to find star wars figures for my youngest as a Christmas present. Couldn’t find ’em anywhere. I asked an assistant: “try in the boys ailse, next one along,” came the response. Make of that what you will.

  27. I am TOTALLY with you on this. I wrote a thing about colour coding children about lots of the things which my son had experienced since the moment he was born. It’s awful! How unfair on your daughter. It seems like some of the gender stereotyping is just getting worse because brands have realised they can double their sales by making “girl” and “boy” versions of things! #GlobalBlogging

  28. It’s not trivial at all. It makes me boil. My son loves frozen (and so do I) he loves pink and flowers. The other day he came home from preschool (he’s 3) and was saying “that’s for boys, that’s for girls” this can only have come from the school. “girls go that way, boys go this” etc. He even said he doesn’t like girls the other day until I pointed out that his best friend (out of school) is a girl. Something’s going on in there and I’m keeping a closer eye on it now.

  29. This is not trivial and very irritating – we are very lucky to go to a school where this just wouldn’t happen. My boy loves what may be classed by some as ‘girly’ things but he is never made to feel that this is wrong. In fact we went to the nativity this week and it was refreshing that Mary was played by a boy and Joseph by a girl.

    Just to add the other side though as I am a teacher too as well as a parent to twin girls ( who are also chalk and cheese) and an older boy – the teacher’s intentions were probably very sweet. Let’s face it – she (or he – not sure you specified!) went out of their own accord and spent their own money on these treats for the kids – probably getting to ensure everyone in the class got at least one choc – that was thoughtful just annoying that they weren’t 2 gender neutral advent calendars! I had meant to get a calendar for my form this year but then at the last minute kept it for myself so what does that say about me (they are 17 and 18 year olds so I figured they could cope!). Sorry for waffling! #globalblogging

  30. I have to say that schools I have seen and teachers that I have worked with are all very open and discourage gender stereotyping at every opportunity, it is a shame that your girls school is the opposite! Sorry for late comment, week from hell! #thatfridaylinky

  31. Couldn’t agree more mate, schools need to be far more proactive about gender equality – and that’s coming from a teacher in the inside! We still have huge divides in sport at high school level and yet our current most successful student (sports wise) plays for the England ladies cricket team.

  32. Shame. She must of been so disappointed. They are so little, life is so full of ridiculous issues and they shouldn’t have to wonder and be confused about something like gender stereotyping. I’m pleased to hear you had a word with the teacher. Working with children she should know better! Thanks for sharing! #globalblogging

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